Surviving in NYC and enjoying it with Amy Rivard

Top Ten Tips for surviving in NYC and enjoying it: Amy Rivard

Amy Rivard

1. Update your technology.

Get a data plan on your cell phone. (Blackberry, iphone etc.) I have to admit when I first heard a casting agent say this, I thought he was ridiculous, but with the lightning speed pace of today’s society, one must follow the times! Auditions will constantly be showing up in your inbox from actors access, agents, jobs etc. and if you are out for the day and aren’t the first to respond, you may either lose the job or the audition. So, put a data plan in your budget, if you were living in the dark ages like me.

2. Don’t Give Up.

When you get here, it can be discouraging. You’ve called that agent a couple times and no response. You’ve auditioned for that casting director a few times. You can’t give up. You need to keep the momentum going. It is okay to take a break for a few weeks or a few months but then jump right back on the train and send those letters out, go to those auditions and keep movin!

3. Style.

Okay, let’s talk Sex and the City. Those girls & guys always looked great, with their Manolo Blahnik’s etc. and when you’re an actor, you’ve got to look your best! But really, if you’ve just moved to NYC and don’t have a hefty trust fund, it can be very difficult to look like Samantha, Charlotte, Mr. Big etc. on a daily basis, check out Century 21,Designer Shoe Warehouse, Daffy’s and random sample sales. (Google, sample sales in NYC!) There are locations in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, so check them out!

4. Hair

It can be notoriously expensive to get your hair cut and let’s be honest, they are cutting something that you OWN. Ridculous, right?! But you can always check out the Aveda Training Institute.
Here’s the lowdown from my friend Kristoffer who gets a haircut there for twenty bucks: “They are students but are supervised and are only allowed on the floor if they are 3 months from graduating. I’ve got curly hair and never had a problem. Have them go slow and be very specific. And certain Broadway babies who shall remain nameless still go there to get their color done. I’m not telling who”

5. Public Bathrooms

This is something I am proud to say that whatever area of the city I am in, I pretty much know where I can find a clean and pristine bathroom! Always search for a hotel. Most hotels don’t require a room key to get into the bathroom and most are in the lobby. Some great ones are The Westin (43rd and 8th) and the Crowne Plaza (49th/Broadway) Just walk in like you belong there and no one will question you. You can go over music, meet friends there and of course...let yourself go.

6. Make-up/Touch-Up

Oh my God, you were going to do your make-up on the subway on the way to your audition and forgot your make-up case at home!! What do you do??! You stop off at the nearest Sephora location. You can try any product on the floor, just be sure to use the supplied applicators that are disposable and stay away from the mascara, you can never be too careful. When the staff asks if you need help, just smile and say, “Thank you, I’m just looking” and they will usually leave you alone!

7. The MOMA

I forgot to tell you about Target Free Friday’s at the MOMA. This is also a great place to take friends and family if they are visiting on a Friday night.

8. Visitors

As I mentioned above, you may occasionally have guests in town. Okay, you will find that there are always people you know coming into town, so what do you do? Here is a list of a bunch of great free things to do in the city, but don’t just do it because there are people in town, go do it on your own too!


Yup, free booze! As I promised in the last newsletter, you can find many places that are giving out free booze. Sometimes it is only for an hour, so you will have to be on time, but if you research properly you can be drunk every night of the week and not pay for it. (ALTHOUGH I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! LOL) Sign up for open bar listings at:


I know that the going gets tough here and you want to give up and I also do believe that for some people there is a time where they decide to go in another direction and that’s okay! But I feel you have to give yourself at least a year here or two before things truly get moving. Some people have things happen over night... good for you...and I hate you...No, but seriously, it takes time for people to get to know you and for you to get to know the city. It’s all about the journey. You have to enjoy it and remember that. Enjoy the process and let your journey take you to places you couldn’t even imagine. Break a leg!!! Amy xo

Amy RivardAmy has always wanted to live in NYC, but knew it was going to be a long haul to get there. She grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and although it was only a 15 minute drive from her house to get to the US border, she had no idea how difficult & expensive it would be to make her dream come true.

A New York casting director told her, "If you want to live in America, you're going to have to prove to the government, that you're an "Alien of Extraordinary Ability" (Yes, my green card says just that!) and that you can take care of yourself. Go get work, get letters from your directors, producers and save any articles written about yourself, then present it to the government (along with a very healthy check to your immigration lawyer!)."

After receiving her BFA in Musical Theatre, Amy was hired as a singer in a touring production of Riverdance. This began Amy's life on the road and ignited her love of travel. She went on to tour in 500 cities, in over 30 countries with shows such as "Camelot", Celtic Woman, "The Roy Orbison Story" (with Roy's younger brother, Sam Orbison) and she also lived in Japan while singing at Tokyo Disney.

Along the way, she also created a number of cabaret shows, recorded her debut cd, CASHMERE, and created her award winning youtube series, "What's Up Canuck?," starring her alter-ego, Candy Canadiana. This series won her a trip to the Vancouver Olympics and the Gold Medal Men's Hockey Game.

She has sung the national anthems for the NY Rangers, NASCAR, the Cleveland Indians, the Vancouver Olympics and others. Amy can also be seen in a number of commercials and starring in Suede Productions independent feature, "Planting Vines". To view the trailer, go to Most recently she was seen as the only North American performer in Celtic Woman's "Songs from the Heart" DVD and their "A Christmas Celebration" DVD.

Amy is proud to say that she has been a "new immigrant" in NYC for over a year and a half now and spends most of her time writing new songs for a pop album that she hopes to get done in the next year, when she finds the right producer…. or when the right producer finds her! As you will see in her youtube series, Amy's alter-ego dreams of Canadian David Foster… okay, Amy does too!

To learn more about Amy, you can go to:
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